When JT Tran mentioned that one reason guys don’t come up to me might be due to approach anxiety, I had to ask for clarification. I’d heard the term before, but didn’t fully understand it. He explained that sometimes guys, both Asian and not, do want to approach a girl but are afraid of rejection or intimidated by her that they get scared and back down. As he describes in his article here, approaching is paradoxically the most and least important part of seduction, but nerve-wracking, nonetheless.
I was literally speechless to hear about approach anxiety from him. Here’s a dating coach and expert on such matters validating something I’d shrugged off all my life revolving around the idea of rejection.
I’d been given the run-around before, mostly when I was younger. “You’re so beautiful, how are you not dating anyone? Oh, no one’s asked you? They’re just shy, intimidated by your beauty. Don’t worry, someone will ask soon.” Of course, I never believed them. How conceited do I have to be to think that the only reason no one is asking me out is because I are simply too gorgeous, too radiant, too amazing to be approached? Those men were experiencing the dreaded approach anxiety and purely afraid to feel rejection.
It wasn’t until earlier this year that I thought there might be something to this theory. As I sat in my school library, a guy that had been in one of my classes two years prior walked behind my chair and, without stopping, dropped a note on my books and hurried off. His note included his phone number and a promise to set up a date. I was seeing someone at the time, but decided to text him, thanking him for the note but politely declining.
His response gave me a little depth to approach anxiety: he told me he had been waiting since our class two years ago for his chance to ask me out but never got the courage until that day. I felt so bad after hearing that, I wanted him to see I wasn’t lying about seeing someone; I added him on facebook and we still remain in contact today.
I can appreciate being scared of rejection – I’ve confessed my feelings to guys before and had them denied. It was nerve-wracking, and I emerged with a bruised ego, but I got right back up and carried on despite feeling the sting of rejection. I’m unsure, however, if guys can grasp how their approach anxiety affects girls…
In high school, I was never asked to a school dance. I went on one date my sophomore year, but he didn’t even look at me when he was asking me out. I guess it’s easier to talk to a girl when you’re both facing the same way and mildly focusing on schoolwork. I was totally not attracted to him (he’s White, he can’t help it), but I ended up eventually going out with him just because no one else had ever asked me. I wasn’t asked out again in person until college. To me,
The message I got, loud and clear, was that I was not attractive enough for someone to spend an evening with me. I constantly thought I was too fat, even though my BMI said otherwise. I started to think that maybe I wasn’t pretty in non-Asians eyes. I know this seems odd, but the majority of the guys that would hit on me, all online via myspace or facebook, were Asian. While this didn’t set me on my path to date strictly Asians, since I was already there, it did reinforce the idea that I was unattractive to the mostly Caucasian population of my community.
I felt bad about myself. I felt like I wasn’t interesting, pretty, or funny. I would see other girls around me getting asked out, knowing that I was a better catch, and just feeling exasperated. I can’t be experiencing rejection because I’m too pretty – pretty girls get asked out. What’s wrong with me and why and I feeling constant rejection?
As I’ve gotten older and wiser, I see some truth to approach anxiety. While I will never stroke my ego enough to let me blame those dateless Friday nights on it, I understand how hard it can be to muster up the courage to talk to someone that may turn me down. On the other side, though, there are lonely, beautiful girls out there, wondering what’s wrong with them because guys can’t overcome that approach anxiety and make them feel date-worthy.